The Latest: Kavanaugh's classmates push for confirmation

The Latest on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

Some of Judge Brett Kavanaugh's high school classmates are urging senators to confirm his nomination to the Supreme Court, calling him "a good man" and "a brilliant jurist."

More than 150 alumni of Georgetown Prep, an elite, all-male high school in the Washington, D.C., area, have sent a letter to the Republican and Democratic Senate leaders and top members of the Judiciary Committee, which will hold hearings on Kavanaugh's nomination.

They say that even though they may have political differences, they "are united in the belief that Brett will discharge his duty in the same manner he always has: impartially, justly and with intellectual honesty and consistency."

The most well-known names among the signers are New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman and Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill.


5:30 p.m.

An estimated 25.6 million people watched President Trump announce that Brett Kavanaugh will be his second Supreme Court nominee.

That's down from the 32.4 million people who saw Trump's similar prime-time announcement of Neil Gorsuch's nomination last year, the Nielsen company says. Summertime television viewership is generally lighter than in the winter, when Gorsuch was picked.

Fox News Channel had the biggest audience for the announcement, with 6.6 million people. Trump defender Sean Hannity anchored Fox News' coverage of the event.

ABC won among the three broadcast networks. ABC interrupted an episode of "The Bachelorette" for the announcement.


4 p.m.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is asserting that President Donald Trump chose Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court because Kavanaugh would protect Trump from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

Kavanaugh wrote in a 2009 Minnesota Law Review article that it would be appropriate for Congress to enact a statute that would allow civil lawsuits against a sitting president to be deferred until the president's term ends. He said Congress should consider doing the same with "respect to criminal investigations and prosecutions of the President."

Kavanaugh came to that conclusion after working on i independent counsel Kenneth Starr's team investigating Bill Clinton and then serving in the administration of President George W. Bush.

Schumer is criticizing those conclusions, asking, "Mr. Kavanaugh: Is the president above the law?"


1:20 p.m.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley says speed isn't the goal when it comes to Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.

The Iowa Republican says the judicial record of President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee is about to be inspected "by every lawyer, at least on the committee."

He says of the process, "Hopefully it's efficient, we get it done quickly." But, he added, "it's going to be thorough and going to be done right." He did not offer a timeline for confirmation hearings.

Grassley and Kavanaugh took no questions during the brief appearance in a corner parlor just off the Senate floor. It capped what Grassley said later was a 30-minute meeting in the senator's Capitol office.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has set a goal of confirming Trump's nominee before the election.


12:30 p.m.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are vowing to fight against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, calling him a threat to a woman's right to choose an abortion, measures to address gun violence and protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and all 10 Democrats on the Judiciary panel gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court Tuesday to oppose Kavanaugh.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut calls Kavanaugh "the worst nightmare" of Florida high school students who survived a mass shooting this year. Sen. Kamala Harris of California says young women should pay close attention to the nomination, adding that a possible ruling to overturn abortion rights "will forever change your lives."

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker calls efforts to block Kavanaugh "the most important fight of our lifetimes."


12:20 p.m.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh's former law clerks are encouraging the Senate Judiciary Committee to confirm him to the Supreme Court.

In a letter to the committee Tuesday, 34 of Kavanaugh's law clerks praise Kavanaugh as a mentor and role model.

The group of Democrats, Republicans and independents write they are "united in this: Our admiration and fondness for Judge Kavanaugh run deep."

The former clerks also praise his "humility," saying: "Judge Kavanaugh never assumes he knows the answers in advance and never takes for granted that his view of the law will prevail."

Writing he would "ably and conscientiously" serve on the Supreme Court, they summarize Kavanaugh's legal practice as: "Shoot straight, be careful and brave, work as hard as you possibly can, and then work a little harder."

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